EXETER, N.H. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard appears to be testing the waters to run for the nation’s highest elected office.
The three-term Democratic Congresswoman has been stoking speculation that she’ll run for president in 2020. That’s after she met with Democrats in New Hampshire, traditionally the first state to hold a presidential primary.
“I first ran for office in Hawaii when I was 21 years old. I ran for the state house,” she told a meet-and-greet gathering of Rockingham County Democrats in Exeter.
She spoke with individual voters after her formal talk and question and answer session. When she was asked directly whether she was running, she did not deny it.
“Well, first of all I’m thinking through the decision that has to be made,” she told a voter. “I’m doing a lot of listening and that’s very helpful to me.”
Gabbard reportedly made two appearances in New Hampshire. That’s sure to bug her critics, after she refused to debate her political opponents in Hawaii last summer.
Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore believes that’s because Gabbard was already looking ahead.
“I think she was really gearing up to run for president,” he said. “It sounds like her book is going to come out very soon, and so that clearly was her major interest.”
The book, entitled “Is Today the Day?” is due out in April, according to Amazon.com.
Another clue may have come out a few weeks ago, when Gabbard used a profane word to criticize President Trump’s continued support of Saudi Arabian rulers after the murder of a journalist.
Moore said Gabbard likely faces an uphill battle if she runs.
“It’s going to be a pretty crowded field,” Moore said. “She’s going to position herself as a progressive Democrat, and there’s a lot of progressive Democrats who are going to run for the nomination.”
He also noted that Gabbard may be popular in Hawaii, but isn’t as well known on the national stage. And while Barack Obama of Hawaii became president, he ran as a U.S. senator from Illinois, a much larger state.
In New Hampshire, Gabbard is definitely sounding like a candidate.
“It’s up to us to choose that inclusion and that love, to fight like hell to defeat that darkness and divisiveness and hatred,” Gabbard told the Rockingham County Democrats. “Understand that when we do that, there is no challenge too great for us to overcome.”